Help us support local, independent news.
100% of reader donations support our local journalists.
For less than a subscription to the Journal for one reader, you can keep our news free for everyone in ABQ.
All of us here at The Paper. like to to give shout-outs to folks who do extraordinary things. Council President Cynthia Borrego brought some super helpers to our attention at the Jan. 20 regular meeting. Borrego told us about how a 25-week-old baby, not born yet, didn’t want to wait for her due date. Little Ms. Milani Chavez was delivered via telephone by her dad while the medics were on the way.
Those Albuquerque Fire and Rescue folks who helped guide the 10-inch, less-than-one-pound baby into this planet are dispatcher Nate Thornton, Rescue 7 Lt. Melissa Romero, driver Leon Garcia, E14 members Lt. Tebby Castillo, FF John Jaramillo, FF Hector Mendoza and driver Katrina Hernandez. Albuquerque Ambulance personnel who took care of the for-sure-scared mom were paramedic Contessa Hernandez and Crystal Dominguez, and those treating the tiny little spark of life were paramedic Bill Bailey and Francisco Baca. “Thank you for bringing us all together for this recognition,” Lt. Romero said. “She looked like a baby doll when we arrived.” Bet the dad and the mom were happy to see this team arrive.
Too Hot To Handle
Prioritizing projects by “racial equity criterion,” or how the City of Albuquerque should use race data to guide the Capital Implementation Program’s infrastructure spending, was left on the table smoldering in a heap of often-emotional debate between the nine city councilors who represent this diverse city.
Councilors Klarissa Peña and Lan Sena sponsored the racial equality bill to make projects in underserved areas first. The city’s Capital Implementation Program puts money into a plan for city investments such as parks, senior and other community centers, roads and the general obligation bonds that citizens vote on every two years. This year’s CIP dollars total more than $140 million.
Several councilors said they had concerns about focusing on only select areas when there are people of color, and underserved areas, in all the districts. The bill was amended to clarify that the city would look for capital investments in underserved areas of each district. But this drew more unhappiness when the bill’s sponsors said they were disheartened by the changes to the bill and would rather withdraw the bill then vote on it. Councilor Pat Davis motioned to defer the vote until the next meeting, allowing councilors to work out the details.
Cop Stuff Tucked Away
The consent agenda is a place to cover routine government business that does not necessarily warrant a full discussion by the governing body. Things like committee appointments, accepting reports, approving routine contracts, etc., etc. Whatever is on the consent agenda is approved as a group, without discussion, unless one of the councilors pulls an item off for discussion.
On this meeting’s consent agenda were two reports from the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. One was about the board’s policies and procedures. The more interesting one was the 40-page semi-annual CPOA report from Jan. 2019 to June 2019. Again, almost two-year-old data. But hey, something is better than nothing, right? So here are some tasty tidbits of what came through the CPOA during this six-month period: The CPOA recorded 196 complaints, with 152 complaints moved on to get a closer look; 76 Albuquerque Police Department employees were involved in complaints, with 10 being involved twice and three involved in three incidents; 94 percent of the complaints were against white officers, with 85 percent being male; the youngest APD employee was 21 years old and the oldest was 64 years old. More men filed complaints than women; more citizens filing complaints were white as opposed to Hispanic, with many not reporting a race; 31 of the complaints were for serious use of force, with three shootings. If this sparks your interest, then check these out at the CPOA tab at cabq.gov.
Fist bump for the residents that step up to help shape Burque. A clutch of citizens were appointed to some of the city’s many boards and commissions. Dr. Marie Lob, William Ferguson and Jon Word to the Airport Advisory Board; Beckham A. Rivera and Leticia Galvez Trujillo to the Human Rights Board; Sara Brownstein to the Early Head Start Program Governance Advisory Committee; Sebastian Noel to the Cable Franchise and Hearing Board; Robert Lujan to the Personnel Board; Tanesia Hale Jones to the Arts Board; Nevarez Encinias to the Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Committee and Susan M. Selbin to the Board of Ethics and Campaign.
- Councilors put their unanimous stamp of approval on a resolution encouraging the State of New Mexico Department of Transportation and the State Legislature to establish as a priority the development of N.M. State Highway 45 (a.k.a. Coors Boulevard) between Central and Gun Club. Councilor Klarissa Peña spearheaded this collaborative measure to finally get the state, the city, Bernalillo County and the Middle Region Council of Governments in line to improve a deadly five-mile stretch of a very busy highway that will only get busier as more people move into the area.
- Councilors (not unanimously) approved a memorial encouraging this year’s state Legislature to establish a state public bank—ne that, according to the memorial, would be owned by and for the people of New Mexico. This seemed to be a popular idea, even among the credit union folks. Seems like it is worth a try.
The next meeting of the City Council is set for 5pm on Monday, Feb. 1. Watch it at GOV TV at cabq.gov or on Comcast Cable Channel 16 or on the city’s YouTube channel.